The Wedding Budget

I am often surprised when people talk about how much money they spent on their wedding. Some times I am in pure shock. I was very blessed in that my parents paid for my wedding, but also that my mom is a very crafty, thrifty person.

When I started planning my wedding, I drew a couple of pictures, gave my mom a few suggestions, and let her run with it. She really is wedding planner extraordinare. The funny thing is, we went through many many phase of ideas, and the glorious part is, we landed back right where we had started. I would like to say “we” when talking about wedding planning, but I really don’t feel like I deserve very much credit at all. I picked out some colors, collected addresses, tried on dresses, posed for pictures, and wrote a million thank-you notes.

So here are some of the ways that “we” saved money:

  1. Fake Flowers: I’ll do you one better. Fake Flowers, from IKEA. My mom purchased the majority of the flowers for the decor and bouquets at IKEA. The funny thing, shortly after she bought all of them, they were marked down 75%…. so she took them back, and re-purchased them for the severely reduced price. This may seem like a TON of hassle, but it saved a lot of money.
  2. Use Your Resources: I am so blessed that so many people chipped in for my wedding. If people had not donated their time and talents, I probably would’ve gone with out, or had it on a much smaller scale. What am I talking about? Well, here is the list of PEOPLE who donated their time and talent:a) The Baker – She made our cake, and we only had to supply the ingredients.
    b) The DJ – who did an awesome job.
    c) The Photographers – I was lucky enough to have two amazing women who photographed my wedding (and our temple exit, and the rehearsal, and getting ready and my bridal portraits).
    d) The Seamstresses – The dresses that my bridesmaids wore were made by hand, and they were beautiful.
    e) The Florist – There was a group of women from the ward who spent an entire afternoon making (fake) floral arrangement for my wedding.
    f) The Decorators – So many people love me. So many people who don’t even know me.
    g) The Chefs – We did a BBQ dinner, with all homemade food. There were women at my house, cooking, for days in advance.
    h) The Clean-up Crew – after we left, the same people who had help set up, along with family, and friends, cleaned up everything so that the building would be ready for church. I was surprised, and touched by how many people stayed to help my parents.
  3. We cheated. I wanted an outdoor tented reception, but because of the fear of rain, we moved it inside. While my mom was ready to make a canopy for using inside the church, another beautiful bride lent us hers. We used plastic rolls of table covering to hide the red carpeted walls. It was perfect.
  4. My Daddy built the Pillar Decor that acted as our back drop outside, and another one for inside.
  5. I made the chandelier that hung out side during our ceremony. I was inspired by Jenna (Mrs. Avocado’s inspiring picture), and her beautiful chandelier from her ceremony. We bought mine on ebay, it was green. I painted it, and then bedazzled it.
  6. We did not have to rent anything. A lot of people think “I don’t want to have my wedding in the cultural hall” but by saving the money it would cost to rent another building (and tables, and white linens, and chairs…) you can put that money towards awesome decor. We did not rent a single one of the above listed items.
  7. We purchased linens, instead of renting. After paying to rent, and then clean the chair covers, and the table linens, you could’ve bought them! So my Mom did. I spoke with her on the phone today, and she said that they have already been used 6 or 7 times in other events!
  8. We borrowed my Grandma’s electric piano for the outdoors processional music.
  9. I asked a close family friend to sing my our favorite hymn (Come Thou Fount).
  10. Brandan’s Aunt played the piano for us, and she did so beautifully, despite me asking her last minute. She is such a talented woman. I aspire to be like her.
  11. I also asked a family friend to conduct our ceremony. Bishop had known me for seven years, and it was so special to have him there.
  12. We borrowed DJ equipment. We had speakers and a microphone for outside, and the stuff that the indoor DJ needed as well.
  13. We borrowed a car. Not for the driving away part – oh how I wish we had though. No. After out temple sealing my best friend lent us her car so B-man and I could drive home in peace and quiet, as a married couple, and reflect and talk. It was an hour+ drive, and my car has no AC. It was so nice to have that short quiet time together in the middle of the chaotic day. I can not thank her enough for trusting me.
  14. We bought my dress on Ebay. Even buying two dresses was still cheaper than most people spend!
    {A caveat about Ebay: Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. You’ll never know unless you take a chance. Plus, if you don’t get what you were expecting, Ebay (the company) and the seller (who depends on your ratings) will fix it. I know it can be scary to buy things online from strangers, but the benefits usually outweigh the minimal risks.}

The list could go on and on. The lesson to be learned? If you don’t have your heart set on something specific, see who’s talents you can pull from!

So, what is the magic number? It’s pretty impressive. My wedding cost:


Yup… my wedding and reception with a full meal, and 100+ people was only that much. Proof that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a big beautiful wedding. You just have to know people, and be willing to ask, and eventually return the favor.

I am forever indebted to those who so willingly helped my Mom plan my wedding while I was away at school, and for every one who donated their time and talent.

So tell me… how much was your wedding?

Continue the fun!

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  1. Good for you for taking charge of the budget like that!

    We spent… ahem… a little more than that. But it was worth it to us in terms of time and mental energy saved. And my mom and I both tend to get stressed out by DIY things – we'd rather tell someone (ie a wedding planner) what we want, and have her sweat the details.

    One thing we did get a great deal on was our photographer. He was a family friend and did a fantastic job for a very very reasonable price.

    Can you share any photos of your wedding? I'd love to see some!

    1. <div id="_mcePaste">I'm currently documenting THE WHOLE THING. So, I will share more pictures as I get the chance to write about each thing on my list – which is here. The list is really long – but I am working on getting it all together, one thing at a time!</div>

      Also – I had over a year to plan my wedding, I don't know how long you had, but a year is a long time, so with some planning, it was easy to space things out.

        1. Oh, did you have a destination wedding, or just closer to extended family? I was a few hundred miles away at college, so I wasn't able to get in on all of the craftiness happening at my Mom's house.

          Are there pictures of your wedding some where? I would love to see them. 🙂

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